August 19th, 2013
Traveling these last few weeks has made writing difficult. I never quite seem to find the balance between living life and writing about it. I need time to take things in, assimilate and chew on them before deciding what they mean. I know once I do I will have a lot to write about. Tonight I have a simple thing to share.
I have visited Maine only a couple of times in the last few years and each time I found my way to the Harbor Candy Shop. The first time, my friend Kathleen whisked me away for a day of R & R at the beach. We stared at the waves from Maine’s rocky shore, walked nature trails and stopped at the candy shop for some Turkish Delight. This was more than a mere treat. It was a taste of magic. I have long been a Chronicles of Narnia fan and as every reader of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe knows, Turkish Delight plays a special role in that book. It is how the White Witch tempts Edmund to betrayal. Here’s what C.S. Lewis wrote about it:
Even after finding out the witch’s nature, it was the candy that drove Edmund on, Lewis writes: “When [Edmund] heard that the Lady he had made friends with was a dangerous witch he felt even more uncomfortable. But he still wanted to taste that Turkish Delight again more than he wanted anything else. … He had eaten his share of the dinner, but he hadn’t really enjoyed it because he was thinking all the time about Turkish Delight—and there’s nothing that spoils the taste of good ordinary food half so much as the memory of bad magic food.”
I’m not sure if I would classify Turkish Delight as bad magic, although I understand the context here. All I know is that having imagined it over-and-over again as I read and reread the book over the years, I was almost as eager as Edmund to sample it. Kathleen purchased several kinds and I tasted them all, falling in love with this magical treat. When I returned to Maine a couple of years later with my friend Joan and we found the store again, I was disappointed to learn that they had no Turkish Delight on hand. I was told it was seasonal.
Learning that I would be visiting Maine last week, I was eager to revisit the candy store and see if this was the on-season for this delectable confection. Unfortunately, having visited with a friend the first time and stumbling on the store by chance the second time, I couldn’t quite remember what town it was in. I assumed it was Old Orchard, but discovered it was Ogunquit. I was almost out of town when I saw the sign and I practically fell into the dashboard, slamming on the brakes and pulling into a nearby parking space. I quickly walked around the store, scanning the colorful shelves for my prize. After making a loop I spied it, a display of Turkish Delight by the door. There were about five or six flavors and I chose the raspberry and rose for $7.00 a box. The small square boxes looked sweet on their own, wrapped in pale tissue paper. Unwrapping a box, there was another layer of paper inside. Folded back it revealed the precious jellies, cut into tiny squares and sprinkled with confectionary sugar.
Later at the hotel I offered it to my friends. My friend Linda raised an eyebrow at the mention of the treat. “Turkish Delight?” she asked. Her son, Matthew, was quick to fill her in. “Turkish Delight, Mom. You known Turkish Delight from Narnia,” he exclaimed. I wanted to hug him. It seems the true magic of this treat is not the way it tastes, although I still find it delicious, but the ability it has, much like a certain wardrobe, to join us together over ages and years and transport us to shared world.
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